Papa Doug and Geniya Manchester.

For nearly 400 years, Thanksgiving has been a celebration of gathering and community. On this special day, we give thanks to God for the greatest gift of all - the gift of life. This Thanksgiving, and every day, we give thanks for the people we cherish the most. We acknowledge our loved ones, family, friends, neighbors, colleagues and community and show how much we adore and appreciate them. Together, we celebrate our triumphs and moments of joy, and offer unconditional support to those who have suffered grief and loss.

Thanksgiving is a special time for us to openly express the gratitude we feel toward the bounty we enjoy and remember those less fortunate in our most heartfelt prayers. We pray to be selfless as opposed to selfish. We should always remember to serve and give to others, especially those who are ill, sick or less fortunate. We should also serve those who serve us -- our men and women in uniform. The daily sacrifices of our service members and their families are among the greatest examples of selfless love - love for liberty, freedom and country - and exemplify a fortitude that we can all aspire to emulate. We pray for these most heroic Americans, and give our heartfelt thanks for their service, although no words can sufficiently articulate our gratitude.

We pray that we will inspire the next generation to be greater and continue the traditions and values that have been passed down from our family members. Traditions made today will be memories tomorrow and carried forward for decades to come. We should always teach our youth the core values and principles of giving thanks and creating a sense of tradition, family and community. We send prayers to all of the children who do not have families or homes and pray that they will find comfort, warmth, a meal to enjoy, a roof over their heads and a bed to rest. We pray for these children every single day.

We cherish Thanksgiving for reminding us that the true gift we offer is peace and love.

Geniya and I would like to give thanks to our family and friends who enrich our lives, and for the opportunity to live in the greatest country and the finest city in the world. We are especially grateful for the members of our community who commit their time, talent and resources to making San Diego a wonderful place. During this holiday season and throughout the entire year, let us commit to doing acts of kindness, extending a helping hand, and serving those in need, to ensure our world is a much better and peaceful place.

Wishing you and your family a blessed and joyous holiday season.

God bless,
Papa Doug and Geniya Manchester

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